And in your hand

So there I was at LAX, all prepared and ready to hop on a plane for a small town in beautiful Baja California. Baja, a perfect target for a snowbird in this frigid January of ’13, oh yes indeedy. I approached the Alaska Airlines computer to begin the whole process of procuring a boarding pass, and the first thing it asked me to do is fish out my passport and slide the bar code through the reader and … oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck my freakin’ passport is in my desk in Reno oh shit oh hell oh damn oh fuck.

Stunned, disbelieving that I could actually pull this boneheaded superbloop, I staggered over to a bench, sat down, and told myself to get over the whole self-loathing bit quickly, because the faster I did that, the faster I might figure out a way to get on that plane that will put me on the shores of the Sea of Cortez.

But without a passport in 2013, you’re pretty much SOL. Absolutely no recourse whatsoever.

In an hour, I was back on a plane to Reno, with a not particularly sunny disposition. And instead of getting off the plane at 3 p.m. and figuring out which sunny patio bar I was going to visit for the afternoon’s first Margarita, I was instead walking out of the Reno airport into a snow squall that was spitting flakes sideways into my face. Perfect! Urk. Grrrr.

Two days later, Sunday morn, 9 a.m., my house in Spanish Springs, and it is frigid outside. Seven degrees, to be precise. The sun is up and just beginning to shine on my frosty domain. As I looked out the window, I couldn’t help but notice that, even though the sun was shining, and there were no clouds overhead, there was something going on in the air. Something rather … precious. And dazzling.

There was a storm of sorts going on, but it was the coolest, most beautiful little storm I’ve ever seen. It’s a storm of very tiny ice particles falling from the sky. Ice particles that aren’t close to being snow, they’re so small, but still very capable of reflecting the morning sun. The resulting wondrous effect is that of thousands of tiny diamonds dancing in the air. Diamonds so light and dinky that they move all over, most angling downward, but some dancing upward and then sideways, all floating about as if they might be jeweled gnats, but they’re just little specks of ice in the sky, falling and darting and dazzling and charming me out of my mind. Transfixed by the scene, I stand at my door for a half hour, sipping coffee, watching this very rare and special show. This very special treat they never see in Baja.

There it was. My reward for being a forgetful dope. As Sly Stone said a long time ago, “Life. It melts in your mind.”